Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba is back in training and could feature but captain Fabricio Coloccini remains very doubtful with a calf injury.
Striker Papiss Cisse might be involved for the first time since December after overcoming a groin problem.
Sunderland have a near full-strength squad, with Jeremain Lens and Lee Cattermole back from injury.
Jermain Defoe has returned to training after suffering a minor calf strain and will be available.
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
Guy Mowbray: “With an inter-city rivalry that’s raged since the English Civil War, any Newcastle-Sunderland duel truly tests the idea that ‘time is a great healer’ – and then the managers come into the mix.
“Rafa and Sam don’t get on. They haven’t since Allardyce’s Bolton beat Benitez’s Liverpool in 2004, and there have been words and counter-words wherever the game has taken them since.
“The only words needed now are those that help a win, with a feeling that the beaten team will lose a lot more than local face this time.
“Does that make this Tyne & Wear derby ‘matter more’ than all before? Maybe only to outsiders.
“This is a game that ALWAYS comes with a tackles and tears guarantee.”